By Michael Benninger

Tickets to this year’s Comic-Con International sold out in less than 90 minutes. That’s 130,000 tickets gone at a rate of 24 per second. Faster than a speeding bullet? Maybe not. But fast enough to leave out a galaxy of grumpy geeks. Fortunately, the Comic-Con celebration extends far beyond the Convention Center walls, with unofficial events taking place throughout the city. From Art Shows to Zombie Walks, here’s a guide to what’s going around this year’s Con.

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Steam Powered Giraffe
July 24, 7:00 p.m. @ The North Park Theatre
2891 University Ave., North Park
The steampunk pantomimers of Steam Powered Giraffe invite you to join the jocularity at this family-friendly, Vaudeville- inspired show that must be seen to be believed.

Marian Call with Molly Lewis
July 25, 7:30 p.m. @ Rebecca’s Coffeehouse
3015 Juniper St., South Park
Known across the internet for her songs celebrating geek culture, folk singer-songwriter Marian call once again appears alongside comic-con to croon about zombies, spaceships and other out-of-this-world subjects.

“Comic-Con is a great place to be yourself... or your favorite character. We’re seeing more people dress up in costume, so that’s always fun. And the ones who are really serious about it even compete in our Comic-Con Masquerade.”
-David Glanzer, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Comic-Con International



The San Diego Symphony presents three special events tailored for music lovers at this year’s Comic-Con.
Embarcadero Marina Park South, 1245 Seventh Ave., Downtown,

Video Games Live
July 24, 8:00 p.m.
Treat your ears and eyes to an evening of video game theme music set against a multisensory backdrop that combines synchronized lighting with an on-stage gaming experience.

Danny Elfman ‘s Music from the Films of Tim Burton
July 25, 8:00 p.m.
The San Diego Symphony revisits the magic of hollywood’s dynamic duo by scoring memorable scenes from Batman, Beetlejuice and more, complemented by on-screen visuals.

Star Trek (2009) Film Screening with Live Soundtrack
July 26, 8:00 p.m.
Trekkies can adjust their phasers to “fun” and set a course for the Embarcadero, where a widescreen-showing of 2009’s Star Trek film will be scored live by the San Diego Symphony.



Fourth Annual Comic-Con Nerd-a-Thon
July 25, 8:00 p.m. @ The Merrow
1271 University Ave., Hillcrest
Imperial march yourself over to the fourth annual comic-con Nerd-a-thon to see burlesque beauties from a galaxy far, far away... Los angeles. Performance troupe devil’s Playground delivers a can’t-miss Star wars-themed burlesque show with a soundtrack by an array of dJs and musical acts.

The SuicideGirls: Blackheart Burlesque
July 26, 12:00 a.m. @ House of Blues
1055 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp
Sexy sensations the SuicideGirls striptease through risqué skits based on Game of Thrones, Planet of the Apes, The Big Lebowski and more.



Her Universe Geek Couture Fashion Show
July 24, Time: TBA @ Manchester Grand Hyatt
1 Market Place, Downtown
Sci-fi fashion brand Her Universe makes history by launching a full-scale, first-of-its-kind “Geek couture” fashion show an design competition, the winner of which receives the opportunity to design a clothing line for hot Topic.



Gam3rCon 2014
July 24-27, 12:00 p.m. @ Tenth Avenue Arts Center
930 Tenth Ave., East Village
San Diego’s signature gaming event unites players and pop culture fans in a celebration of all things fantastical. Guests at this gargantuan gaming expo will find four floors of activity, including a video game arena, tabletop gaming lounge, industry panels, live theatre, artwork and a rooftop reception.



w00tstock 6.0
July 24, 7:00 p.m. @ Balboa Theatre
868 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp
Perennial party w00tstock 6.0 promises a little something for all types of geeks, as Mythbuster Adam Savage, actor Wil Wheaton and their friends offer an energetic evening of comedy, music, short films and special guests.

Marked Men Party
July 25, 8:00 p.m. @ HMS Surprise
1492 N. Harbor Dr., Downtown
Hop aboard the HMS Surprise (an actual ship used in the Pirates of the Caribbean) for a night of swashbuckling fun and adventure. Coinciding with Comic-Con for its fifth straight year, the pirate-themed Marked Men Party features live music, fortune telling, sword-fight demonstrations and plenty of rum to go around.



Hop-Con 2.0: The w00tstout Festival
July 23, 7:00 p.m. @ Stone Brewing World Bistro
2816 Historic Decatur Rd., Liberty Station
At Stone’s hop-con 2.0, the nationally known local brewer will launch w00tstout 2.0, a new beer developed by celebrigeeks Aisha Tyler, Wil Wheaton and Drew Curtis. The “seductive imperial stout brewed with wheat, rye, pecans and stone-ground chocolate” sports a label designed by Watchmen comic book artist Dave Gibbons.

3DS Pokemon Tournament for Craft Beer Lovers
July 23, 6:00 p.m. @ Ballast Point Little Italy
2215 India St., Little Italy
It’s Pikachu vs. Pikabrew at Ballast Point Little italy, where adults can unabashedly mash on their 3dS d-pads and B-buttons. Try to “catch ‘em all” (apparently this means something to Pokemon-ers) while sipping on finely crafted beers and challenging fellow Pokefans head-to-head. Smogon rules apply, as if you didn’t already know.

Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival
July 26, 3:00 p.m. @ Embarcadero Marina Park South
500 Kettner Blvd., Downtown
Enjoy the power of unlimited tasting at this year’s Heroes Brew fest, where you can sample 80 beers from more than 40 craft breweries, all while enjoying live music and a caped crusader costume contest. Proceeds benefit actual superheroes via the Warrior Foundation.



Roddenberry Adventures’ Sixth Annual Comic-Con Dive and Aquarium Show
July 24, 7:00 a.m. @ Birch Aquarium at Scripps
2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla
Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, boldly goes where fish have gone before...and invites fellow Trekkies to tag along. A guest diver for Birch Aquarium, Roddenberry will beam into the Aquarium’s 70,000-gallon tank, answering questions about ocean life and the Enterprise.

The Walking Dead Escape
July 25-26, 6:00 p.m. @ Petco Park
100 park boulevard, East Village
The official Walking Dead obstacle course challenges the living (and not so living) to sprint, scurry and shamble through an apocalyptic evacuation zone. Survivors must clear quarantine testing or otherwise join the undead army at this immersive zombie-run experience.

Eighth Annual Zombie Walk and Zombie Prom
July 26, 5:00 p.m.
Fourth Ave. and Broadway, Gaslamp
San Diego’s annual Zombiewalk returns to the streets of the Gaslamp, extended this year with a Zombie Prom after-party.



PacificSD captured these photos at the 2013 Comic-Con. This year, cosplayers can strike poses at two photoshoots.

Marvel Cosplayer Photoshoot
July 25, 3:00 p.m.
Back steps of the San Diego Convention Center mezzanine

DC Cosplayer Photoshoot
July 26, 2:00 p.m.
Semi-circle stairs located at the back of the convention center



Art + Wood’s First Annual Group Art Show
July 26, 7:00 p.m. @ 57 Degrees
1735 Hancock St., Mission hills

Cover your jugular at Art + Wood’s inaugural Group Art Show, where the vampire hosts are out for blood. Mingle and muse with art aficionados, craft beer enthusiasts and cosplayers (costumed role players, as any real geek will tell you) aplenty at this geek-themed exhibition showcasing local creatives.


Sherlocked Comic Con Party
July 25, 7:00-10:00 p.m. @ San Diego Public Library
330 Park Blvd., Downtown
The game is afoot on the ninth floor of the San Diego Public Library as Detective Holmes’ fans sip and sleuth the night away on two balconies overlooking Petco Park. Sherlockians can get clued-in and converse with kindred spirits, unravel puzzling games and get themed manicures.


CON-TAIN YOURSELF (comedy/comedic podcasts)

Doug Benson
July 23, 8:00 p.m. @ House of Blues
1055 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp
Cinephile and celebrated stoner Doug Benson brings his special blend of the giggles to House of Blues to record an episode of his podcast, Doug Loves Movies.

Judah Friedlander
July 24-26, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. @ The American Comedy Co.
818 Sixth Ave., Gaslamp
Actor and comedian Judah Friedlander unleashes his extemporaneous stand-up throughout Con with five shows at the American Comedy Co., where audience interaction will help him keep things fresh and offer new material for each appearance.

Kevin Smith
July 24, 5:00 p.m. @ The American Comedy Co.
818 Sixth Ave., Gaslamp
July 25, 11:00 p.m. @ House of Blues
1055 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp
Hollywood writer/director/producer Kevin Smith will pull double-duty at this year’s Con. On Thursday night, he and co-star Jason Mewes will record their Jay & Silent Bob podcast at the American Comedy Co. On Friday, Smith will record an installment of his Babble-On podcast at House of Blues.

“Nerdist” Chris Hardwick
July 25-26, 10:30 p.m. @ Balboa Theatre
868 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp
On Friday, Chris Hardwick brings his considerable geek cred to Balboa Theatre to host an episode of Comedy Central’s @midnight Live, featuring three celebrity contestants battling to “win the internet” by cracking wise. The Nerdist gang follows it up Saturday with a live recording of their eponymous podcast.